6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: What did God do for Jacob, and what does that teach us about the Destination Unknowns in our life?

Genesis 29:1-14

Three weeks ago, the YOUTH GROUP went on a “Destination Unknown.” If you’ve never been on a DU, or heard of one, it’s a fun activity for the youth group, except for the fact that the group does not know where they are going until they get there. When I was a youth pastor, we used to tape the bus windows with newspaper so the teens couldn’t see where we were going. The most recent DU for our Faith Bible Teens ended up being a destination to a Navy Football game at Annapolis! It was really exciting for them because as usual, the bus broke down on the way!

Does your life feel like you’re on a Destination Unknown? Perhaps you have just lost your job, or you are going through the sorrow of a broken relationship. Maybe there is a young man or woman here who is beginning theif college education. We heard 2 weeks ago from John Fogle, just recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Can you relate to that? Or perhaps your Destination Unknown is the beginning of retirement and you’re not sure how it is all going to work out.

Our patriarch Jacob is on a 1,000 mile Destination Unknown!

His story is told in Genesis 29:1-14

“Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples. There he saw a well in the field, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well. Jacob asked the shepherds, “My brothers, where are you from?” “We’re from Haran,” they replied. He said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?” “Yes, we know him,” they answered. Then Jacob asked them, “Is he well?” “Yes, he is,” they said, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” “Look,” he said, “the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.” “We can’t,” they replied, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep.” While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud. He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father. As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things. Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.” After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month,” (Genesis 29:1–14, NIV84)

FOLLOW Jacob with me.........

you are alone on your camel

Day after day

Night after night

Your first stop is BETHEL, where you have a personal encounter with God who reveals that he is going to bless you just like he promised.

Then, you continue on your journey and CROSS the JORDAN river, and begin to travel north via the KINGS HIGHWAY.

You pass around the base of MT HERMON. It’s beautiful and capped with snow, even in the early summer.

The weather grew hotter with each step down from the slopes of HERMON.

Within a few weeks, you are in the Syrian Dessert. It’s hotter, but it reminds you a little bit of Beersheba, the home you left several weeks ago.

Your next stop is DAMASCUS, then ALEPPO. This is the same city where modern day Syrian army forces bombed and killed dozens of civilians in the current civil war. On Wednesday October 24, 2012, 20 civilians were killed waiting for bread at a bakery. These places are of great historic significance.

Your FEAR has turned to EXCITEMENT and ANTICIPATION. We learn this from Genesis 29:1. The NIV text says “Jacob continued on his journey.” Literally, he “lifted up his feet.” HE “PICKED up the PACE.” He is now moving with intent, knowing that God was with him!

Finally, more vegetation and greenery as he grew closer to the Fertile Crescent and the town of HARAN.

For two months, Jacob has traveled in the sun and heat.

This “man of the tents” has long forgotten the comforts home.

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